Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL)

Back to profile

RELEASE: House Ed. Policy Committee approves Rep. Moller’s bill to strengthen school mental health

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Education Policy Committee approved legislation authored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL – Shoreview) to improve mental health in Minnesota schools. The bill requires the Minnesota Department of Education to create two school mental health services leads, with one focused on the needs of students and one focused on teachers and other school staff.

“Mental health in Minnesota school districts was a significant worry prior to COVID-19’s arrival. With the learning disruption due to the pandemic, these concerns have grown exponentially,” Rep. Moller said. “Students and educators deserve comprehensive action to protect their wellbeing, and these new positions will be uniquely equipped to work with districts to develop resources and support to meet the numerous mental health needs in schools.”

The two leads would be charged with helping schools assess their comprehensive mental health plans and develop improvement plans to implement evidence-based mental health resources, tools and practices in school districts. They’d also be responsible for establishing a clearinghouse with information and resources for schools, teachers and families, assisting schools with trauma-informed and culturally responsive school programs, and other duties.

According to data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Minnesota and is the second for those ages 10 to 34. AFSP’s findings also showed 71.5% of communities didn’t have enough mental health providers to serve residents in 2020, according to federal guidelines. 

The Comprehensive Center Network’s 2021 Minnesota Safe Learning Survey showed widespread consensus across educators, families, and students that mental health is a significant concern in need of support and change moving forward. A recent survey of Minnesota principals identified mental health resources for students and staff as the two most helpful supports at the current stage of the pandemic.

AFSP, NAMI Minnesota, the Minnesota School Social Workers Association, EdAllies, the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, and Mental Health Minnesota all shared their support for the legislation.

The House Education Finance Committee will consider the legislation next. Video of the hearing will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. Documents and other information from the hearing will be available on the committee webpage.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, providing free and confidential support for people in distress with prevention and crisis resources, is 1-800-273-8255. In Minnesota, help is available via the Crisis Text Line by texting “MN” to 741741.